Former Thai national coach wants to see dream AFF Cup final

By Nghia Phu   September 24, 2021 | 05:07 pm PT
Former Thai national coach wants to see dream AFF Cup final
Kiatisuk Senamuang as the coach of Hoang Anh Gia Lai in V. League 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Kiatisuk Senamuang, former Thailand national football coach, expects the AFF Cup 2021 final to be a dream clash between Southeast Asia's top two teams, Vietnam and Thailand.

The AFF draw has put Vietnam in group B with Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos, while Thailand are in group A with Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and the winner of the play-off between Brunei and Timor-Leste.

"Group A is easier than group B. Vietnam will face some challenges being in the same group with Malaysia and Indonesia," Kiatisuk told Thai newspaper Thai Rath.

"I believe Thailand will make it to the final. The team needs to win the title for the fans. That's very important. I really want Vietnam to be Thailand's opponent in the final. It will be a dream match," he said.

In the past, Kiatisuk led Thailand to two consecutive AFF Cup titles in 2014 and 2016. But after the failure during World Cup 2018 qualifiers and conflict with Football Association of Thailand (FAT) President Somyot Poompanmoung, Kiatisuk decided to step down from the head coach position in 2017.

FAT later recruited Japanese coach Akira Nishino for the national team in July 2019. But Thailand's form stayed poor, especially in the second round of World Cup qualifiers, where they were eliminated. Vietnam and the UAE were the two teams in group G that advanced to the final round. Nishino parted ways with FAT after that while the head coach position was given to Anurak Srikerd.

Kiatisuk is a contender for the position, but he is still in contract with V. League club Hoang Anh Gia Lai.

Ever since Park Hang-seo became Vietnam head coach, the team have not lost to Thailand, even at youth level.

AFF Cup is set to take place from Dec. 5, 2021 to Jan. 1, 2022.

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